Summer nights often include a barbecue grill or gathering around the backyard fire pit. While these activities are some of the moved loved parts of summer, residents are asked to be mindful of the fire risks involved.
Deputy Chief Eddie Saffell, Deputy Chief, Administration, with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District (CJCFPD), explains that the extensive rains the area has experienced in the past few months have eliminated many of the issues they see, but conditions will change quickly as summer arrives.
“Once the rain stops and we truly get into summer, people don’t really understand how quickly things will dry out,” Saffell said. “As far as fire pits, chimineas, charcoal grills, etc., we ask people to be careful when using them. Watch for sparks and embers and make sure the fire is out before leaving the appliance unattended.”
The US Fire Administration (USFA) recommends grills and outdoor fire pits be located no less than three feet away from homes and other structures, and that an adult monitors the fire or grill at all times.
Ashes from grills and outdoor appliances are another common fire hazard.
“One thing we see is people that will put the ashes from charcoal grills and other outdoor appliances into plastic or paper containers. Even though the ashes seem cool, it only takes a small ember and a little wind to flare back up. Once everything starts drying out, this becomes a concern,” Saffel said.
Cigarettes are also a common culprit of outdoor fires.
“The second most common call type for us is usually related to cigarettes. People need to be aware of smoking outside, especially on decks and with leaves and dry grass around. As with outdoor appliances, it only takes a small ember to cause a fire. People have a tendency to put their cigarettes out in a flower pot or planter with dry mulch or through it into the yard with dry leaves,” Saffell said.
Burn bans are common in late summer, and CJCFPD monitors local weather conditions to determine if a ban is necessary.
“Once everything starts to dry out, we will begin watching the weather. If the day is hot and dry with any wind, we will show a “no burning day” on a banner across the top of our web site and www.cjcfpd.org. What that means is any burning permits we have issued for burning brush in the county are suspended for the day, or longer,” Saffel said.
“As far as areas within the city limits of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, and Lake Tapawingo, we have no authority to ask people to not burn in their outdoor appliances, but we highly encourage not using them and being even more aware of smoking materials.”
Information regarding burn bans in the area will be posted on the CJCFPD website: https://cjcfpd.org/.
The graphic at right, provided by the US Fire Administration/FEMA, outlines a number of tips for homeowners.
Image credit: US Fire Administration